Dealing with the media is the responsibility of the seneschal and the chatelain. If the seneschal or chatelain are not available to talk to the media at an event, (or are not comfortable talking to the media,) they should assign one or more people to talk to the media. These should be people who are knowledgeable of the SCA, and who can say exactly what they mean. The media will often not take the time to figure out what a person really meant to say. There should be a person prepared to talk to the media even if the media was not invited, if the event is in a public place.
The Size of Events
The large Kingdom events, such as Crown Tourney and Coronation, are usually not the best place to bring in hoards of sightseers. They may, however, be good times to have the media around to take pictures and do interviews. Before doing this, however, be sure to check with Their Majesties and Their Highnesses. In this case, the media can be used to show the world what happened at the event after it is over.
For smaller events, where SCA folks have more time and energy to devote to visitors watching, the media can be used to tell people about the event before it happens.
A handout for the media is a good way to give the media a large amount of accurate information in a short amount of time. A handout for the media might include more information and less art work than handouts for the general public. A newcomers guid (like Forward Into The Past) or a new members packet might also be helpful for them to have.
Dealing with each type of media, (newspaper, television, magazines, radio) is unique. Contact someone from the appropriate media to find out what they want and need to do a story. It is good to mentione that the SCA is a not-for-profit group, so that the media does not think that you are looking for free publicity for a business.
A smaller radio station or newspaper may ask you to write your own story. Again, ask for and follow any guidelines that they may have. It is usually best to put the most important information near the top of the story, because the end may get cut off.
Try not to use SCA jargon, like "Grant of Arms awards". Use real names for places (unless you explain). Stay away from terms that are easily misinterpreted, (such as "peers") or that would take much explanation (such as "fealty"). Do not talk about the things that we do not do, unless specifically asked.
Remember to be courteous and thank the reporter(s), photographers, etc. They are doing the SCA a favour.
Things to stress to the press are:
1. We are a non-profit educational group that studies and recreates the Middle Ages.
2. We are similar to other well-know groups/clubs.
3. About the fighting: it is not choreographed, there is much skill and training involved; there are many safety precautions taken, and that blow acknowledgement is by an honour system.
4. There is a wide variety of things that we do; list examples.
Other ideas on dealing with the media can be found in the section DEALING WITH PEOPLE NEW TO THE SCA.